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Posts Tagged ‘local shopping’

Remember this post about how I was going to make sure all my Christmas presents were USA-made this year? Let’s just say I started out strong and then, when I realized I only had 3 shopping days left, completely panicked and just started buying anything I could find that I thought the person would mildly like. That’s part of the fun, right?

Nevertheless, I thought I’d share some of my finds and my grand tally. Out of THIRTEEN gifts that Ryan and I purchased, EIGHT were Made in the USA and FOUR were purchased from locally-owned businesses. We also purchased FOUR additional gifts that were experiences or services, like tickets to a basketball game (for our dads) or getting Ryan’s car detailed for him. While these don’t exactly fit in with the “Made” in the USA theme, they certainly promote our local economy.

I purchased a good number of things from Etsy this year, like this adorable bracelet by junghwa that I picked out for my cousin Rachel. And while the artist isn’t local (she’s based out of Washington state), I love the idea that I’m supporting a small-business and hopefully giving someone the chance to make a living doing something she loves. And, how cute is the bracelet? I mean, c’mon!

That was easy, though. How about trying find something Made in the USA at Bed Bath & Beyond? My mom suggested I might get my dad some K-cups as a stocking stuffer because she was getting him a Keurig. And, she also recommended that Bed Bath and Beyond had a good selection of flavors. I approached the wall, literally wall, of options and started turning over boxes… Made in Canada, Made in China, etc.

Before long, though, I was able to find a few good options of K-cups that were Made in the USA, like Green Mountain Coffee’s Breakfast Blend. I have to say, I was most encouraged by this find. It gives me a little hope that shopping at big-box stores (that seem to value out-pricing their competitors more than anything else) and buying USA-made are not completely incompatible. Like I admitted in the first paragraph, I am definitely one of those people that, at times, panics and just throws anything into my cart, but if you take a little time on one trip to find a brand you like that’s Made in the USA, hopefully that can be the brand you blindly throw into your cart in your next shopping frenzy.

For the record, the only two gifts that I was able to buy both locally from a small-business and USA-made were a silver bracelet, that I bought and had engraved for our god-daughter Lacey, and a picture frame I had engraved for Ryan. Both were purchased from The Engraving Shop in Charlottesville.

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Back in November at the DMB show, I was catching up with one of our friends who asked me if Ryan and I were still enjoying our apartment. We have a fabulous apartment in the middle of downtown Cville: hardwood floors, 10′ ceilings, built-in book cases. So, yes, of course we are still loving it! We can walk to almost anything we need and we only have to use our cars about once or twice a week (for errands, visiting friends, meetings, etc.).  In this conversation, he mentioned a theory that I’d never heard of but that I haven’t been able to get out of my head, so I thought I’d share it.

He explained to me a theory called the “Triangle of Happiness”— it claims that the smaller the triangle between where you sleep, work, and shop; the happier the human. But, instead of me defining it, you can read about it here— don’t worry it’s short and has a diagram!

I like to think that Ryan and I are very happy, but I decided to mathematically test exactly how happy we are! So, here are the stats:
– distance from our house to my work= .2 miles
– distance from our house to Ryan’s work= .2 miles
– distance from our house to Barracks Road= 4.2 miles

Less than 5 miles total, pretty amazing, right? There are definitely some downsides to our apartment: it’s a one bedroom, we don’t have laundry in our apartment, and our bathtub is plastic and I refuse to take a bath in it. In general, we probably pay a little bit more for some basic necessities, like groceries and personal items. We hardly ever go to big box stores like Target and favor, instead, paying a higher price but staying within a smaller radius. This not only saves on gas, but by staying away from places like Target, we avoid the inevitable Target impulse shopping— you know, you go into buy toilet paper and shaving cream and come out with half of the households department, two pairs of earrings, a sundress, some flip flops, a soy candle, and a garden stool. So, maybe we do save money in the end? Note: all of the things listed in the “theoretical” impulse shopping list above are things that I have actually purchased from Target.

I think this happiness theory is so fascinating because it so starkly contrasts the idea of happiness that I think most people have. When I think of “happiness”, the first thing that comes to mind is an image of a pure blue swimming pool by a villa in the Hollywood Hills, a stainless-steal sub-zero fridge stocked with fresh Whole Foods produce, and a pilates instructor that makes private house-calls. But, I guess, it turns out, my little routine of walking from my one-bedroom apartment to work in 18 degree weather might make me just as happy.

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